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International News

Sex Education Debate Heats Up in Philippines

June 22, 2010

A UN-backed sex education program that covers reproductive health and STDs is being piloted in the Philippines this month, over the objections of the Roman Catholic Church and some conservative political groups.

"Issues that are not for children should not be taught in schools," the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said in a statement. More than 80 percent of the Philippines' 90 million people are Catholic.

The UN, which has partially underwritten the program, rejected the church's position in a statement issued last week.

The conservative political party Ang Kapatiran ("The Brotherhood") and the Catholic Church have petitioned the court to stop the program.

"Sex education is not the answer to our population problem and poverty. It promotes promiscuity among children. It does not promote the proper values that we want our children to receive in schools, and we believe sex education should strictly remain a family affair," said Eric Manalang, Ang Kapatiran's chief.

Education officials said the program is needed to address the nation's poverty -- about one-third of Filipinos live on less than $1 per day, and the population is growing at about two percent per year. In addition, HIV is rising among the nation's youth, UN Population Fund Philippine Director Suneeta Mukherjee said.

"We are not encouraging people, or children to have sexual relationships, we are only helping students handle their sexuality as part of the process of growing up. We just want the children to make responsible decisions," Mukherjee said.

Back to other news for June 2010

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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